Having the best hockey player in the world on your team is a wonderful thing. Frankly, the Capitals don't have much business heading back to D.C. with the two points they picked up in Edmonton tonight, no matter how good that third period was, and those two points are going to show up in the standings tomorrow because Alex Ovechkin stood up and carried the team on his back for the third period and a rookie goaltender kept the team in the game when the rest of the team wasn't doing much to help itself.
Still, you have to give credit where credit's due. The Caps could have easily gone in to the locker room at the second intermission, considered that they were on the last game of a Western Conference road trip and were down two goals and decided to mail it in for the third and get on their plane back to Washington (eventually). It might have taken Ovechkin to get things started, but the rest of the team followed, and that's a positive sign.
Ten additional thoughts on last night's game:
- Despite the win, the Capitals' powerplay went 0-for-4 for the second consecutive night and, as was the case in Friday night's loss, didn't put nearly as much pressure on the opposition as it should have. The biggest problem was simply too much standing around. A lot of the time all five guys looked like they were waiting on someone else to create a chance. It just doesn't work that way.
- Part of what's so great about Karl Alzner's game is the fact that he not only does everything so well, but he's under control at all times. One of the ways that manifests itself is in shot attempts. Rather than trying to blast away with a ceiling-scraping slap shot, Alzner just concentrates on getting the puck to the net. It might not mean as many goals for him, but it almost certainly means more goals for the Capitals because it makes the opposing goalie work and it creates chances in front of the net.
- For a team at the end of a road trip that covered a pretty fair amount of distance and undoubtedly tired after having played the night before, the Capitals were remarkably disciplined, taking only two minor penalties.
- There were six Capitals on the ice for the Oiler's first goal and exactly one of them, Michal Neuvirth, did their job on the play. Between the turnover by Jeff Schultz and the lackadaisical backchecking of , Alexander Semin, and Mike Green it's impressive Neuvirth stopped the first shot, let alone the second one. Hell, he deserves credit for even coming close on the rebound.
- I'm pretty sure the delay of game penalty called on Tom Glibert was a lucky break for the Capitals. I'm more sure I'd know whether the delay of game penalty called on Tom Glibert was a lucky break for the Capitals if the game had been broadcast in HD. Just sayin'.
- Question of the night: was Jeff Deslauriers' glove hand in the game's first two periods the result of some kind of dark magic or was it simply that the Capitals' shooters simply couldn't resist their primal urge to shoot at the big, fiercely orange target?
- Speaking of Deslauriers he seemed to be getting awfully upset about the contact the Capitals were making with him, which makes me wonder why he didn't tell his defensemen to stop pushing Washington players into him.
- Obviously this is a Cap-centric blog, but great effort deserves to be recognized no matter who's wearing the uniform. With that in mind, the way Steve Staios repeatedly threw himself in front of Alex Ovechkin slap shots deserves praise from anyone who loves hockey.
- No Capitals player finished with a minus rating on the night.
- Early in the second period I became exasperated with Comcast Sportsnet when they missed a faceoff because they were talking about the Caps' upcoming schedule and decided to keep track of how many they missed the rest of the night. I stopped keeping track at a dozen (this was also more or less when the game started to get really interesting) but that's way, way too many. Especially when you're missing draws to show Hilary Duff sitting in the stands or to do a close up of Jeff Deslauriers' face.
Joe Beninanti and Craig Laughlin noted on the telecast that Pat Quinn had referred to Ovechkin as "a gift" to the game of hockey. I don't think anyone in Edmonton's going to be disputing that any time soon.